The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space is the most important platform for scenography in the world. Founded in 1967 and held once every four years, it explores aspects of scenography as a transdisciplinary field where the performing arts, visual arts and architecture meet and converge.
At the heart of the Quadrennial is the section «Exhibition of Countries and Regions», in which artists from over 60 countries are offered a unique opportunity to present new forms of scenography. Pro Helvetia is responsible for Switzerland’s contribution to the Quadrennial.
(Above illustration: Glacier du Rhône covered with blankets to prevent it from melting, Switzerland; inspiration picture for the Swiss contribution to the Prague Quadrennial 2019 «Artificial Arcadia: measured and adjustable(?) landscapes» by Fragmentin & KOSMOS Architects © Stefan Schlumpf, series «Hidden Landscapes» (base); KOSMOS architects (post production))
For the 14th edition of the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (PQ 2019), which takes place from 6 to 16 June 2019, Pro Helvetia has, by way of a competition, commissioned the team of artists and architects Fragmentin & KOSMOS to mount the project «Artificial Arcadia: measured and adjustable(?) landscapes». The PQ 2019 is entitled «Imagination, Transformation and Memory».
About the team of artists and architects
Fragmentin is an art practice founded in 2014 and made up of Laura Perrenoud, Marc Dubois and David Colombini, three graduates from ECAL (Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne). By testing the borders between the digital and the tangible world, their performative installations explore the impact of technologies on our everyday life, in particular the reliance on the former to anticipate and control the latter.
KOSMOS Architects (Geneva)
KOSMOS, founded by Artem Kitaev and Leonid Slonimskiy, is a virtual architectural practice that works on projects of various scales and categories, ranging from art installations and pavilions to airports and master plans. They have realised projects in Moscow, Switzerland, Bangkok and New York. In addition to its practice, KOSMOS teaches interior architecture at HEAD – Genève (Geneva School of Art and Design).
Switzerland’s national contribution
Title: «Artificial Arcadia: measured and adjustable(?) landscapes»
Design and realisation: Fragmentin & KOSMOS Architects
Commissioned by: Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia
«Artificial Arcadia: measured and adjustable(?) landscapes» presents a performative scenographic landscape, in the form of a social and dynamic spatial platform that invites audiences to a journey and highlights how the Swiss landscape blends natural, artificial and digital realms. The spatial design is inspired by the aesthetics of Swiss infrastructure, specifically the construction profiles (Bauprofile), which announce a planned new building and put the plans forward for debate.
The full digitalisation of the scene, projected in real time on a hanging screen, is used in a metaphorical way to raise awareness of the – sometimes unnoticed – impact that people and infrastructure can have on a natural environment and the changes they can cause.
Performances by Camille Alena
This performative scenographic landscape has been designed as a platform to host different performances created specifically for the event by artist Camille Alena. The artist will work on a diary-style piece that will evolve during the Quadrennial and grow within the interactive structure designed by Fragmentin & KOSMOS Architects.
Swiss artist Camille Alena earned an MA in Visual Art at the Royal College of Art in London. Her work has given her experience in sparking enthusiasm for an idea and realising projects that are rooted in local traditions or communities.
Further Swiss participations at PQ 2019
- In the context of the «Student Exhibition»: A project by students of scenography and theatre pedagogy in the Department of Performing Arts of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK), under the leadership of Manuel Fabritz (scenography) and Prof. Dr. Mira Sack (theatre pedagogy);
- In the context of «Fragments»: «Unusual Weather Phenomena Machine» by Thom Luz.
Our Partners of the 2015 Edition
The 13th edition of the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space in 2015 attracted more than 180,000 visitors. Pro Helvetia commissioned four renowned personalities with the task of planning and curating Switzerland’s contribution: Eric Linder (musician and curator of the Antigel festival), Markus Lüscher (architect at Park Zürich), Imanuel Schipper (dramaturgue and cultural studies specialist) and Barbara Zürcher (curator at Haus für Kunst Uri).
The common theme for the contributions from 68 nations was «SharedSpace» – the exploration of temporary and innovative ways of using public space. Switzerland’s project, entitled «Under the Tail of the Horse», consisted of three components:
- «Wenceslas Line», a walkable construction, several hundred metres long, giving visitors a thoroughly new perspective of the historic square in the heart of the Czech capital
- «Podoli Wave», a performance-cum-concert created by Eric Linder at Prague’s Olympic swimming pool Podolí with the music groups Sunfast and OY, making for a unique sensory experience
- «Reception», with photographs by Iren Stehli and Rishabh Kaul, at Clam-Gallas Palace, one of the festival hubs